This is the hundred and fifty eighth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Colin Baker as Six and Lisa Greenwood as Phillipa ‘Flip’ Jackson. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with cliffhangers and original theme music between each. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes. There are some interviews with cast and crew at the end of the second disc and a few minutes of the soundtrack at the end of disc 1. It is the third in a trilogy of adventures featuring new companion Flip, but you don’t need to hear the preceding adventures to get right into this.
After the superb preceding two adventures, which dished up non stop fun along with some mind bending and thoughtful aspects, this adventure rounds out the trilogy in a bravura fashion with a dark and chilling tale set in that old Whoniverse standby, the remote and isolated base. Some years after the events of ‘Ark In Space’, the Sixth Doctor and Flip are visiting Nerva City when they are accidentally transmatted to a remote Scottish outpost. After quickly establishing this week’s supporting characters the tale soon becomes a desperate fight for survival for the small group as things at the base start to go wrong and a certain alien threat long thought defeated makes it’s presence felt. There are even darker undercurrents as the history of the family stranded in the outpost is slowly revealed and the full horror of the situation comes to light. Then, suddenly, the production changes gear and instead of a struggle for survival for a small close knit set of characters the threat suddenly becomes world wide, and the Doctor has to save a planet as well as an individual. It’s a brilliantly done piece, full of great action set pieces (in which Flip shines even more than she has previously done) and dark underlying horror. It’s a satisfying end to this trilogy, and leaves us begging for more Six/Flip adventures. 5 stars.
This story is the 158th release in the Big Finish Main Range, and features the Sixth Doctor, as played by Colin Baker. It is the third and final story in the trilogy which has the Sixth Doctor accompanied by Flip Jackson, played by Lisa Greenwood.
In this story we already know that we are going to be confronted by the Wirrn, the alien parasitic giant insect-like creatures first encountered by the Fourth Doctor in the tv story from 1975, The Ark in Space. That was a great story, and told of the Ark, a great repository of humanity, which was to remain safe from an Earth impacted by solar flares, and to be ready to repopulate the Earth when it was safe once again. The Ark, when found by the Fourth Doctor, with Sarah Jane and Harry, has been invaded by the Wirrn. In that story, the transmat technology used by the humans played a vital role, and this aspect of human technology is again heavily featured in this new audio story.
The Wirrn have also appeared in another Big Finish story, Wirrn Dawn, which was released in 2009, and which featured the Eighth Doctor, with his companion Lucie Miller. Of course, the Sixth Doctor (in this audio story released in 2012) doesn’t know of his future incarnation’s encounter with the Wirrn.
Wirrn Isle takes place some forty years since the colonists of Nerva Beacon (from The Ark in Space) have returned to repopulate Earth. The Buchman family are trying to forge a new life for themselves in the sparsely populated area which once was Loch Lomond. They had lived there some fifteen years previously, but had been forced to move back to Nerva City. Now, Roger, his wife Veronica, and their daughter Toasty are back. The Doctor and Flip had been in Nerva City, but an ill-advised transmat has found them turning up unexpectedly at Loch Lomond. There, they find themselves stranded with the Buchmans; and with something else.
I really liked the aspects of this story which started off as a ‘base under siege’ and quickly turned into something quite different. The backstory of the Buchman family is a real underlying thread in the story, which, when pulled, opens up a whole new vista of tragedy and sorrow. There is a real ‘humanity’ in this story, which is really important when it follows on from a story like The Ark in Space. It is the human-ness of the characters, and their stories, which really makes it what it is. Mix in to that the Sixth Doctor, with his very un-human-like qualities, and his very twenty-first century human companion, Flip, and you have a really good opportunity to bring out and develop the characters in a very character-driven story. This has been done really well. I really liked the revisiting of the Wirrn, who were, and remain one of my favourite classic Doctor Who aliens.
The supporting cast, including Tim Bentinck, Jenny Funnell, Tessa Nicholson, Rikki Lawton, Dan Starkey and Helen Goldwyn were really excellent in their roles; they sank their teeth into the characters and really gave it their all, I thought. There were two minor letdowns for me in this story. One was the character of Flip Jackson, and the rather one-dimensional playing of that character by Lisa Greenwood. The other letdown for me was the ending of the story, which didn’t really play out as in any way realistic or feasible, given the circumstances, the players, and the story itself. Other than that, a very likeable story, and one that does the Wirrn proud.
on 6 October 2012
First encountered by the Doctor's Fourth incarnation back in 1975, the Wirrn are an insectoid race with the rather anti-social habit of laying their eggs inside human hosts, who then become Wirrn themselves. This time around, the Sixth Doctor and his current travelling companion 'Flip' arrive in a futuristic Scotland, where the Wirrn have attempted to invade and where a group of humans are attempting to rescue one of their number using transmat technology, after he was inadvertently transmatted inside an adult Wirrn.
The icy setting, strong characterisations, and intriguing story, all add-up to a decent piece of drama, and whilst certainly not the strongest BF offering of recent years, it's still a worthwhile listen.